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GM'S 10 Greatest Hits

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
May 9, 2011
6 min. Reading Time

General Motors offers one of the most diverse vehicle lineups on the market, and so it’s no surprise that with so many bases covered there are more than a few segment-leading automobiles produced under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac banners. Whether you are interested in a full-size luxury SUV, a sleek sports car, a next-generation hybrid sedan or a premium four-door family hauler, GM has you covered.

Let’s take a look at 10 of GM’s “greatest hits,” vehicles which consistently rise to the top of their class thanks to their combination of features, performance, comfort and styling.

01. 2011 Chevrolet Corvette

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette can almost be considered the Swiss Army knife of sports cars. The many models of the Chevrolet Corvette provide the automobile with multiple personalities: the base coupe offers a great balance between all-out performance and daily drivability, the convertible provides top down thrills and the GS spices things up by introducing a few more aggressive elements (gearing, aerodynamic body kit, bigger brakes and better tires) to the equation. Those who are set on taking their Corvette to the track can choose between either the Z06 or ZR1 editions, each of which guarantees an incredibly potent combination of power and handling.

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette starts out with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine under the hood that is good for 430 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Commuters will be pleased to note that the entry-level edition’s fuel mileage shows as 16-mpg city and a lofty 26-mpg highway. The Corvette Z06 upgrades to a 505 horsepower, 7.0-liter V-8 that also generates 470 lb-ft of torque, while the ZR1 gains a supercharged 6.2-liter, eight-cylinder unit that churns out 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque. Six-speed manual transmissions are standard with both the Z06 and the ZR1, and fuel mileage drops down to 15-mpg city and 24-mpg highway (Z06) and 14-mpg city and 20-mpg highway (ZR1).


02. 2011 Cadillac CTS

Like the Corvette, the 2011 Cadillac CTS also offers a multi-faceted array of options to luxury car buyers. The mid-size Cadillac CTS can be had in either sedan, coupe or practical wagon body styles, with the latter providing as much as 53.4 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear seats folded forward. All three CTS models feature the same angular styling and taut ride that sets them apart from other cars in their class, with the coupe especially gathering more than its fair share of eyeballs due to its stand-out design.

Under the hood, the 2011 Cadillac CTS starts out with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that generates 270 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for this motor is rated at 18-mpg around town and 27-mpg on the highway. More power is available in the form of a 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 304 horses and 273 lb-ft of torque on its way to identical fuel economy numbers. Transmission choices for the larger mill remain the same, and all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option on all CTS models.


03. 2011 Buick Regal

The 2011 Buick Regal gives entry-level premium car buyers an option that doesn’t hail from Germany or Japan. The compact Buick Regal sedan manages to offer a chassis that has been tuned to keep drivers engaged with the road without subjecting them to harsh suspension response on rough pavement, and the vehicle also provides a long list of high end features and options that make it a legitimate luxury contender.

Entry-level editions of the 2011 Buick Regal are outfitted with a 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that also generates 172 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is included as standard equipment, and fuel mileage for the motor checks in at 19-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. A turbocharged option is additionally available, displacing 2.0-liters and also offering four-cylinders. Power for this unit comes out to 220 ponies and 258 lb-ft of twist for this unit, and while a six-speed auto is still available, drivers can instead choose to row their own gears via an available six-speed manual tranny. Fuel mileage for the more robust engine drops by 1-mpg around town and 2-mpg during highway cruising.


04. 2011 Chevrolet Suburban

The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban steps up to the full-size SUV plate with a commanding nine-passenger seating option, a cavernous 137 cubic feet of interior cargo space and the ability to tow as much as 8,100 lbs when properly equipped. Throw in the fact that the top of the line Chevrolet Suburban LTZ trim offers luxury features such as heated leather seats, an air suspension system and a surround sound audio system and it’s easy to see why the sport-utility vehicle is such a popular choice for families on the go.

The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is offered with a 5.3-liter V-8 that provides 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque. A rugged four-wheel drive system can be added to the SUV in order to give it more than a little off-road ability, and a six-speed automatic transmission is included free of charge with each edition of the truck. Fuel mileage for the Suburban is rated at 15-mpg in stop and go driving and 21-mpg on the highway.


05. 2011 Buick Enclave

Full-size family transportation is what the 2011 Buick Enclave does best. The Buick Enclave matches the capacity of many large SUVs when it comes to passengers and cargo (with room inside for as many as eight occupants or as much as 116 cubic feet of gear) without sacrificing the driving feel and comfort of a full-size sedan. The Buick crossover also features excellent sound and vibration insulation and an extensive complement of luxury features.

All 2011 Buick Enclave models feature the same 3.6-liter V-6 that has been tuned to provide a healthy 288 horsepower along with 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission routes this output to either the front wheels or all four wheels if optional all-wheel drive is selected. Fuel economy figures for the Enclave show as 17-mpg around town and 24-mpg on the highway.


06. 2011 Chevrolet Volt

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is in a class by itself, a compact electric sedan that also features a small gasoline engine onboard that can recharge the vehicle’s battery if a wall outlet isn’t handy. The Chevrolet Volt’s gasoline engine is completely disconnected from the drivetrain – only the battery-powered electric motor provides 149 horsepower of motivation for the sedan, and the vehicle features a 40 mile range before the internal combustion unit kicks on to extend time to empty by 300 miles. Drivers with commutes of less than 40 miles each day will most likely never have to stop in at the gas station in between charging up the Volt at home overnight. Perhaps most impressively, the Volt manages to provide all of the features and drivability that most buyers have come to expect from a car in its class, making it a no-compromise eco-option.


07. 2011 Cadillac Escalade

The 2011 Cadillac Escalade is the apex of high luxury, impossible-to-ignore luxury sport-utility vehicles. The Cadillac Escalade is big, brawny and opulent, and its street presence is more than matched by the raft of top end features it has to offer. The list of Escalade equipment includes items such as heated leather seats, a voice-activated navigation system, a Bose surround sound system, active suspension damping, a sunroof and even power-retractable running boards. Add in optional eight passenger seating and the ability to swallow as much as 108.9 cubic feet of cargo with the rear rows folded forward, and it’s easy to see why the Escalade dominates its class.

A single V-8 option graces the engine bay of the 2011 Cadillac Escalade. Displacing 6.2-liters, the Escalade’s motor grinds out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, and the rear-wheel drive truck also offers the option of an all-wheel drive system for handling treacherous road surfaces. A six-speed auto gearbox handles the gear shifting duties for the Escalade, and fuel mileage checks in at 14-mpg city and 18-mpg highway thanks in part to cylinder deactivation technology.


08. 2011 Chevrolet Silverado

The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado is the latest in a long line of trucks that have been faithfully serving American drivers for decades. The full-size Chevrolet Silverado comes in regular, extended and crew cab editions, with the latter offering full-size rear doors and six passenger seating. The pickup also provides a choice of three bed lengths (5-feet, eight-inches, 6.5-feet and 8-feet) and the availability of four-wheel drive.

The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado is sold with an array of engine options, starting out with a 4.3-liter V-6 that generates 195 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and also returns fuel economy of 15-mpg city and 20-mpg highway. A 4.8-liter V-8 is next, and it offers 302 horses and 305 lb-ft of twist while dropping fuel mileage by 1-mpg for each respective measure. Both of these engine are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Silverado’s 5.3-liter V-8 is good for 315 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque and actually bests the V-6’s fuel efficiency (15-mpg city, 21-mpg highway), while its optional 6.2-liter V-8 thunders out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque (with a concomitant drop in fuel mileage to 13-mpg city and 18-mpg highway). Each of the larger eight-cylinder engines comes with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment.


09. 2011 GMC Terrain

The 2011 GMC Terrain is one of the bigger compact SUV options out there, and it offers a premium feel in terms of features and ride when compared against the competition. In addition to available options such as a voice-controlled navigation system and leather seats, the GMC Terrain also offers accommodations for five passengers as well as 63.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the rear row folded forward.

The 2011 GMC Terrain comes exclusively with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine mounted between the front fenders. Capable of generating 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, the 2.4-liter unit also returns fuel mileage of 22-mpg in city driving and 32-mpg during highway cruising. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the Terrain, and all-wheel drive can be added to the crossover as an option.


10. 2011 Chevrolet Camaro

The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro provides muscle coupe and convertible shoppers with a retro-themed option that makes full use of modern technologies to provide a very impressive driving experience. Even when ordered with its entry-level V-6 engine, the Chevrolet Camaro is a potent performer that lives up to its aggressive styling and offers exactly the kind of thrills sports car shoppers are looking for.

The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro starts out with a 312 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine that also develops 278 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can select either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission to pair with this mill, and fuel mileage for the V-6 is rated at 17-mpg city and 28-mpg highway. The Camaro SS benefits from a fire-breathing, 6.2-liter V-8 that offers 426 horses and 420 lb-ft of torque in conjunction with fuel economy of 16-mpg around town and 24-mpg on the highway.



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